My husband is a packrat.
For 30 years, he worked as a machinist for academic researchers, and his shop was filled with stacks of empty plastic yogurt cups, drawers full of springs and screws and other hardware, stacks of lumber, and piles of acrylic and sheet metal.
When he retired, he came home at the end of his last day with a huge green duffel bag filled with junk—an old tennis racquet, moth-eaten jackets, pocketknives, pencils, a stained coffee mug, and a pair of dusty rollerblades.
But he also brought home a treasure—an assortment of road maps from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. He had found them in his drawer, left behind by his predecessor.
I was fascinated. I’ve always loved maps anyway, and this was a treasure trove of Americana. The front flaps featured pictures of cars no longer made, oil companies no longer in business, and people wearing clothes from another era.
After spending a couple of hours examining them and carefully folding them back to their original orientation, I decided they deserved a better fate than being shoved into a drawer for another 30 years. I stacked them up, tied them with a piece of white twine, and propped them on a shelf with some of my other vintage treasures.
Sometimes it’s good to be married to a packrat.